Estate Planning for Someone with Dementia
Estate planning for someone who is at any stage of dementia presents different issues than would the average estate plan of an aging relative. Their declining capacity to comprehend and sign the documents means that you need to act quickly and plan ahead.
For any document to be legally binding, the person who signs it must understand exactly what it is they are signing. When someone has later stages of dementia, they will likely lack the legal capacity to sign a document since they do not comprehend what the document is saying or the ramifications of it. This means that any changes to the estate plan must be done when the person is in the early stages of the disease. If there is no estate plan or it needs to be updated, you should act immediately after the person is diagnosed.
Durable Power of Attorney
You will want to designate someone who has the ability to make decisions for the person since they will no longer be able to make their own decisions both in the area of healthcare and finances. If there is nobody with this decision-making ability, the court may have to appoint a guardian as the person’s condition deteriorates. You should find someone who is responsible and trustworthy and knows the wishes of the person with dementia so that the power of attorney can reflect their wants. You can lay out the scope of the power of attorney in advance.
Check the Will
An estate planning lawyer in Las Vegas can help you review the will since the time for making any changes will likely be limited. Certainly if there is no will, right after the diagnosis would be the time to put one together. Given the possible legal issues that will be involved, it is best to work with an attorney to ensure that any estate planning decision cannot be challenged at a later point in time. Make sure that the will is current and reflects the wants of the person with dementia because it will be not changeable past a certain point.